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Federal roundup of wild horses, burros on

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Federal authorities say a roundup is expected to collect about 6,000 wild horses and burros on public lands in six western states including California.

The Bureau of Land Management says reducing the size of herds prevents starvation and leaves more grazing land available for other wildlife such as deer and bighorn sheep, The Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise reported Tuesday.

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Animal rights activists charge the roundups are unnecessary, counterproductive and cruel and have resulted in the BLM keeping more animals in captivity than are left in the wild on the agency's rangelands.

"The BLM continues to rely on an approach that makes the situation worse," Suzanne Roy, director of American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, said.

Animals are sometimes injured or killed in the roundups, she said.

Animals taken in the roundups, expected to last about four months, will be brought to federal corrals where the healthy horses and burros will be made available for adoption, the Press-Enterprise said.

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